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CAMILA MEZA.

The New York Times has described her as
“A bright young singer and guitarist with an ear for music of both
folkloric and pop intention, Camila Meza has connected with a strong peer
group since moving to New York from her native Santiago, Chile, in
2009″.
During her five years in the United States, Camila Meza has created a big
impact in the New York jazz scene. She possesses an innate and rare
combination of qualities as a singer and guitar player, who also writes her own
songs and arrangements. She has a highly expressive voice with a unique
timber and way of phrasing, while her improvisations and accompaniment on the
guitar are equally touching and soulful. Camila’s music takes us on a joyfully
energetic and deep journey full of beauty and adventure. Her Latin American
roots and profound connection to jazz combined with the fusions of contemporary
and popular music give the music she creates a very special and appealing
sound.
Camila Meza belongs to a new generation
of jazz musicians that are interested in creating new sounds and allowing
diverse influences into their music. With love for this exploration, Camila
felt right at home in the diverse and creative jazz scene of New York City.
She graduated from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2012
where she had the chance to study with masters such as Peter Bernstein, Vic
Juris, Sam Yahel, Steve Cardenas and Gil Goldstein amongst others. But even
before working with these masters, she began playing with her peers and other musicians
of New York, quickly becoming part of the New York community.

“Living in New York has shaped the
way I approach my music, and has nurtured me as a person. I’ve discovered
things I would never have if I hadn’t been here. It has been a journey both outwards
and inwards.”

With an already flourishing career in
Chile from the age of 19, by the time she moved to New York at 23, she had
already recorded two albums under her name, which received great accolade from
jazz media in Chile. Camila quickly started gaining attention in the Jazz scene
and started performing on a regular basis at the best jazz clubs and venues in
New York such as Jazz Standard, Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Smalls Jazz Club,
The Jazz Gallery and Rockwood Music Hall.
An artist with an international
reputation, she has already played in
festivals and venues all over Europe
including
Swidnica Jazz Festival in Poland, Hildener Jazz Festival in Germany,
Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland and recently had her debut at the reknown
jazz club in France, Duc de Lombards. She has toured as part of singer Sachal
Vasandani’s Quartet and
pianist Fabian Almazan’s project with Strings with whom
she recorded a Blue Note/Artist Share album in 2013. Camila appeared as a guest
in Paquito D’Rivera’s band at the
Patagonia Jazz Festival in Chile and also as
a special guest of Aaron Goldberg Trio at The Jazz Standard in New York. Her
collaboration with Aaron Goldberg led to her first recording in New York, a six
track (EP) of her arrangements of standards,
Latin American and Brazilian
songs.


Her breakthrough album “Traces” has her showcasing her talents as a
composer and excelled singer and guitar player on her debut album for the New
York based label Sunnyside Records.

Although none of her parents are professional musicians, her father, an
accomplished journalist, studied music as a teenager but stopped playing half
way through his career. In spite of this, Camila and most of her siblings
followed the path of the musician. Camila recalls listening to mostly classicalmusic and The Beatles at home. Her brother, a drummer and painter, used to
listen to jazz fusion artists, who became very popular in the 90’s in Chile
such as Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, John Scofield and John McLaughlin. Although
Camila didn’t know who these musicians were at the time, she kept hearing her
siblings talk about them and became curious. Saying that, Camila’s initial
influences were based in 70’s Rock, including Jimi Hendrix and Led Zepellin.
Always “the musician” of the class in high school, she started
playing her own compositions with a rock band. As she grew as a musician, she
soon started experimenting with more complex harmonies. Her first Jazz icon
became Pat Metheny, who’s sound inspired her to buy a hollow body guitar.
Later, George Benson’s singing solos solidified her intention to learn and playjazz.

All this passion for learning and
discovering music in depth, brought her to attend one of the few popular and
jazz music schools in Santiago, Projazz Institute. It was during her first year
at the music school in Santiago, that her ear-training teacher, pianist MonchoRomero, who also mentored chilean jazz singer Claudia Acuña, noticed Camila’s
natural talent to hear a melody and improvise from it. He invited her to
perform at a weekly gig where she developed her skills as a jazz singer playing
with a jazz trio. In a matter of a year she had already assimilated the
essential elements of jazz singing, by listening to singers such as EllaFitzgerald, Carmen McRae and Chet Baker. A friend in school gave her “The
incredible jazz guitar of Wes Montgomery” as a gift and it was at that
moment when she realized that contemporary artists she loved like Pat Metheny
and George Benson had been influenced by him.
Soon she started dreaming of accompanying
herself on the guitar while singing so she formed her own band where she could
develop her skills. It became a pivotal moment in her career. At the age of 22,
Camila recorded a set of her favorite standards on “Skylark” (2007),
with great critic’s acclaim.

She appeared on TV and toured Chile. After this
success she formed a Quintet to perform her own versions of songs and
experiment on reshaping, rebuilding and re-interpreting songs into her own
voice. With this band, she released “Retrato” (2009) where she
covered some of her earlier influences: Bjork, Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin and
also some Latin American influential composers such as Chilean
singer-songwriter Victor Jara and Brazilian musician Ivan Lins. In 2013 she
released a 6-track album called “Prisma” which, like
“Retrato”, also features her very unique vision as an arranger. She
had the chance to record with a stellar band featuring pianist and co-producer
Aaron Goldberg, chilean bass player Pablo Menares, drummer Clarence Penn and
saxophonist John Ellis

With
a wide palette of influences Camila keeps discovering new sounds and
inspirations. The last two years have been creatively very important for
Camila, in which she has begun writing her own songs, where she is able to
portray her experiences and unique voice. She has also recently started a new
collaborative project with Israeli bass player and arranger Noam Wiesenberg;
” The Nectar Orchestra”. It features Camila’s compositions with a
string quartet and an earthy acoustic sound.

 

Music for Camila is essential. She says “I hope to be able to connect on a
deep level with the people that listen to me – outside of preconceptions of
genre, style and language. I see music as one of the most universal expressions
of human beings, that when is present, we’re all equal and it can free us,
that’s why I think is so important to the world.”


BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE 2016 ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL LINE UP 
Friday, May 27
Main Stage:
7:00 pm                            Next Collective  
9:00 pm                                JOI
Saturday, May 28
Local Stage:
12:30 pm                              Rialto Jazz for Kids All Stars
2:30 pm                                The Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra (RYJO)
4:30 pm                                Mabu’s Ark Band
6:30 pm                                Alex Lattimore
International Stage:
1:30 pm                Camila Meza    
3:30 pm                                TATRAN
5:30 pm                                Mette Henriette
7:30 pm                                Etienne Charles
Main Stage:
1:00 pm                                Chargaux
3:00 pm                                Tomeka Reid
5:00 pm                                Theo Croker
7:00 pm                                Jamison Ross
9:00 pm                                Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Sunday, May 29
Local Stage:
12:30 pm                              Band Room Nation
2:30 pm                              Anonymous DaBand

 

4:30 pm                             Joe Alterman Trio

6:30 pm                                        Chandra Currelley 

from Blogger 2016 Atlanta Jazz Festival: Camila Meza – When We Speak TV

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